First-years consistently rank the Quad (and Cabot specifically) as their least desired housing preference (2017, 2018, 2019). This is not surprising. Seniors, on the other hand, consistently rank the Quad (and Cabot specifically) with the highest satisfaction rates of all the Houses (2017, 2018, 2019).
The reason for this discrepancy is that the anti-Quad propaganda machine works hard every year to convince innocent first-years that the Quad is a terrible place. Don’t fall for it. You don’t want to walk 15 minutes? First off, it’s even closer to Northwest Labs and almost just as close to the Science Center as from the River Houses. But otherwise, you could take the shuttle, or better yet, get a bike, a skateboard, scooter, or rollerblades. Don’t get caught up in this mythical river house-produced criticism of the Quad being “too far.” You don’t want significantly bigger rooms, more N+1 suites and singles, and an absurd amount of space? Okay, maybe the river is for you then. Do you have/want a social life? The Quad hosts some of Harvard’s only social spaces. Tired of having your stuff stolen or being bombarded by tourists everywhere you go? Here, there’s peace.
It’s time to shift the campus discourse surrounding the Quad from “it’s not that bad” to “it is significantly better than the river.” However, it is not enough to dispel myths about the Quad, but also its presumably least respected House – Cabot. This is my House, and this is without a shadow of a doubt the best House on campus. It has its own café (a student-run initiative), pottery studio, dance studio, game room, theater, and a gym that makes the MAC look like Super Weenie Hut Juniors. It is the only House that surrounds the beautiful Quad lawn. Its dining hall gets criticized for being small, and yet it is the place where so many events, gatherings, meals, and study sessions form the tight-knit community that no other House can even attempt to rival.
One of these events is Festivus. Festivus is Cabot’s annual holiday celebration. I remember for Festivus last year, we had food from a bunch of different restaurants, party props from every season, and Dean Khurana’s signature stereo filling our dining hall with holiday music. I watched other Cabot students perform their instruments, songs, sketches, and one guy whose beatboxing made me feel like I was at a rave. I even got up there myself to rap (I can’t rap). The entire dining hall was filled with laughter, and everyone felt at home. Cabot’s café, aquarium, dining hall, studio, theater, gym, library, and whatever else are only possible because of Cabot’s people. We have a lot of great stuff, but what truly makes this place home are the students who may have come in disappointed, but leave having given it a chance.
Image Credit: HPR / Jacob Herbele